Twelve Hours...

"But I know you wanted children. It's all we talked about for months after we married. And you've never mentioned it again since we learned we couldn't. You just seemed to accept the news like the scientist you are. You acted like it was just any other piece of data to be analyzed. But that can't possibly be how you really feel. I know you too well. So I want you to tell me."

"Tell you what, dear?"

"Do you regret marrying me, even in the slightest?"

"No, of course not."

"Please Anton, if you resent me at all, even the tiniest bit, I must know. I can bear it now, when our whole lives lie ahead of us and we can work through it together. But I don't want to find out a half-century from now that you've never forgiven me for not being able to give you the gift of children."

He reached across the table and clasped her hands.

"Mary," he said softly as he looked into her eyes, "I have never in my life been more thankful that it is just you and I in this world."

"Really?" she asked, her eyes glistening. "Really and truly?"

"Really and truly."

She leaned across the table, never letting go of his hands, and they kissed. They stood and embraced tightly. He felt her tears on his neck, and knew his were falling on her neck as well. Hers were tears of joy and love, his of love and loss.

She pulled away slightly, and said: "I hope you are ready for dessert."

She guided him to the bedroom, and despite himself he glanced up at the clock and fresh tears slid down his cheek.

* * *

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